Although my room might tell a different story right now, I really hate clutter. It drives me nuts if things don’t have a proper place and I have to leave something sitting out where I have to look at it all the time. I am even less tolerant of clutter on my iPhone, as soon as a little red bubble appears I immediately have to check it so it will go away. When I see other people’s phones and they have thousands of unread emails or a ton of notifications or updates on different apps, it stresses me out for them.
But even more than the red bubbles, I despise having a million apps downloaded on my phone because when I can’t easily see what I have on my phone I forget some exist and I never use them. I refuse to have more than two pages (or screens, if you will) because I know there is no way I need that much stuff. If something is so far back that I need more than two pages, I am hardly ever going to use it and therefore probably don’t need it. I also despise folders and refuse to use them unless its necessary to make more things fit onto my second page, and I never have them on my first, or home, page. And don’t even get me started on multiple page folders. Well, I do admit that I have a multi-page folder – but it’s for all the apps I have that I don’t ever use but cannot delete (Thanks, Apple!). Needless to say, the layout and organization of my phone is extremely important to me, every app I have is one I use regularly.
Which brings me to the real discussion of this blog post: forced app downloading, and my hatred for it.
It started off with Facebook and their switch to the specific Messenger app. In case you aren’t familiar with this case, Facebook prevented access to the messaging feature through the Facebook app for mobile devices, basically forcing users to download their Messenger specific app. I resisted for as long as I could, but eventually caved and downloaded it just because I was finally fed up with not being to get rid of Facebook notifications without use of a computer. Although I did download it, I still don’t really like it because:
- Having two apps just for Facebook is absolutely absurd.
- The icon looks too much like Group Me so I accidentally click on the wrong app all the time.
Mark Zuckerberg’s explanation for the change was:
“We saw that the top messaging apps people were using were their own app. These apps that are fast and just focused on messaging. You’re probably messaging people 15 times per day. Having to go into an app and take a bunch of steps to get to messaging is a lot of friction.”
And yeah, it may be easier to not have to go through steps to get to the messenger, but if I want to go through all these steps I should be free to. This is America for crying out loud. I do not use Messenger very often, and I still resent that I must have an entire app dedicated to checking the occasional Facebook message. I don’t blame Facebook for making a special app, I blame them for forcing people to download it.
But this was just one case, so I just let it go. At least that’s what I thought until today, which leads me to Google.
I am a college student in a sorority, so I am extremely familiar with GoogleDocs. Although I rarely create them, I access them almost daily in order to sign up for events, work on a group project, or study for an exam. I had noticed lately that I was unable to edit them on my phone, but hadn’t thought much about it and assumed for a while it was just a glitch.
Today, however, I was trying to sign up for an event that was only open for a few more hours and was asking my roommates about it and trying to see if one of them could sign up for me. During this conversation one of them mentioned that you need to download an app to edit them on mobile devices now. I immediately cursed Google.
I begrudgingly downloaded the app to see if it would rectify my situation – but I couldn’t remember my Google log-in information (because I never use Google+) and even when I clicked on the link to the document it didn’t even try to open it in the app for me to edit. And even now that I did get myself logged in – IT. STILL. DOESN’T. WORK. Sure I can start my own document, but there appears to be no way to open and edit a document that you are just have the link to. And there appears to be no explanation from Google as to why they have made this switch.
And to make it worse, there is a separate app for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides – which I have always lumped into one category. So although I originally downloaded the Docs app when I was trying to open a slideshow, it still didn’t work when I downloaded the correct app.
But I used to be able to open and edit Google Docs/Slides/Sheets – and now Google has robbed me of this. Now I have to have a specific app for a specific type of document and I can only access them if they are shared with me directly. Which is absolutely infuriating.
Both Facebook and Google have lost some of my trust and respect by forcing me to download all of these different apps. If I need to have a special app for every task I have to do – that doesn’t make my life easier at all, it complicates it tremendously. I thought technology was supposed to make life simpler and easier, but this trend of forcing users to download apps has only made mine more complicated, frustrating, and more cluttered.